I'm sick? Why GOD?! WHY?!
Ugh, I’m sick. That’s pretty much all I can think about right now. I keep asking myself, “How did his happen? Will I ever feel good again? I don’t even remember what it felt like to be healthy!” So as these thoughts spiraled, I had an epiphany: Since we’re in the belly of the beast (holiday season/cold season/super-stress season), I would answer my own question: Why am I sick? <cough, cough>
Even if we ate the healthiest foods, and exercised appropriately, we may still get sick. Why? Because nutrition and physical activity are only 2 of the 5 Pillars that keep us healthy, happy, and productive. We often forget that relationships, career, and personal philosophy are important areas for us to focus on for our health. Unfortunately, our immune function is smarter than we are. Our bodies know what they need, even though we often forget or ignore it.
Speaking of immune function, there are many things that actually suppress or prevent it from operating at optimal levels.
Things That Suppress Immune Function:
- Refined sugar and flour products
- Hydrogenated fats and oils
- Artificial sweeteners, food dyes and preservatives
- Excess exercise
- Not enough exercise
- Unhappy feelings and thoughts
- A negative attitude towards life
- Feeling trapped in a situation
- Unexpressed emotions or emotions being expressed in an unhealthy way
That sounds like a lot, especially during this time of year, but don’t fret! All is not lost!
Things That Boost Our Immune Function:
- 8-10 hours of sleep per day
- A moderate amount of exercise
- Appropriate levels of activity
- A Positive attitude about life
- Job satisfaction
- Loving relationships
- Doing something that personally satisfies you every day
- Expressing emotions in a healthy way
When I’m sick, I notice my sugar cravings skyrocket as my body is searching for extra energy. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t indulge a bit more when I’m sick. The truth is that I’m less likely to do the work to prep and cook my food and I am more likely to order delivery or dig into my chocolate stash.
Knowing this about myself, I decided to prepare by ordering Fresh Direct (grocery delivery for those of you who don’t live in the Northeast!) and stock up on ingredients for easy stir-frys and soups.
There are so many foods that help to strengthen our immune system. Here are a few I had on hand or purchased to prepare myself for hibernation.
Foods That Help to Strengthen Our Immune Function:
- Citrus fruits
- Berries (also to curb my sugar cravings)
- Dark leafy greens
- Flax, coconut, and olive oil
- Brown rice & quinoa
- Root vegetables (also to give me healthy carbs without the sugar spike!)
- Spices such as: thyme, oregano, garlic, ginger, clove, basil, rosemary, onion, and turmeric
- And without fail, I’m drinking 8 glasses of water or herbal tea!
My last tip for conquering sickness this season is “chicken soup for the soul.” No, not those books my mom always gives me (though I do like some of them).
Read books, watch movies, meditate, and do other things that you actually enjoy doing, but never let yourself indulge in. This is your time to nourish your soul by grounding your energy and focusing on self-love. Chances are, that’s why you got sick in the first place!
Personally, I’m rereading Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban :)
And, on a more literal note, have some soup! Here is one of my favorite recipes and one that I’ll be making tonight! Thanks Whole Foods for this one!
Better than Chicken Soup
Serves 4 to 6
This immune-boosting soup is made with a virtual garden of powerful ingredients that contain beneficial nutrients for your immune system.
1 small yellow onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, sliced
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
8 fresh shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and sliced
4 cups low-sodium mushroom, vegetable or chicken broth
1 1/2 cups julienned fresh kale
1 cup cubed butternut squash
2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
6 thin slices astragalus root (optional)
Juice of 1 fresh lemon
1 teaspoon miso
In a sauce pot over medium-high heat, saute onion and garlic in oil 3 minutes. Add turmeric and mushrooms. Saute 2 minutes. Add broth, kale, squash, ginger, cayenne and astragalus. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool slightly, add lemon juice and miso (adding miso when still very hot will diminish its probiotic benefits). Cover and let sit 5 minutes before serving.
Nutrition (in case you care-which you shouldn’t)
Per serving: 90 calories (5 from fat), 0.5 g total fat, 0g saturated fat, 0mg cholesterol, 160mg sodium, 19g total carbohydrate (6g dietary fiber, 5g sugar), 2g protein
What are your remedies for seasonal sickness? Share in the Comments Section Below!